SAT Subject Tests

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Should You Take SAT Subject Tests?

Should You Take The SAT Subject TestsSAT Subject Tests are hour-long content based tests which allow you to demonstrate just how awesome you are in a given subject. There are 20 Subject Tests in all and unlike the SAT where you have to complete all three sections, you get to choose which Subject Tests you would like to take. Subject Tests are offered on the same dates as the SAT and you can take up to three tests in one sitting.

You can check out a complete list of all Subject Tests on the College Board website here.

Now that you fully understand what a Subject Test, let’s move on to the bigger question.

Should you take one?

The answer is an easy “yes” when you plan on applying to a highly selective college. If you review their admission requirements, a lot of these schools will require or recommend Subject Tests. Pay close attention to the fine print though as some of them will recommend specific subjects depending on your major.

For example, engineering applicants to Johns Hopkins University are strongly encouraged to submit two SAT subject tests: Mathematics Level 2 and one of the sciences. Applicants for Lehigh University’s combined BA/MD degree program are “strongly encouraged” to take Mathematics Level 1 or Level 2 and Chemistry.

So, in some cases, you do have to be very strategic about which tests you take.

But what if a college doesn’t strongly encourage them? What if they just recommend taking a Subject Test? What if they say they will only use them if the scores enhance your chances for admission?

In my opinion, you always want to go beyond the basic requirements. So while there is a difference between “strongly encourage” and “recommend”, in either case the college is making a reference to them as something they like to see in their applicants’ files. When a college is telling you what they want to see, you should listen.

And if a school is only going to use them in situations where they help you, well, you’ve got nothing to lose except for a couple hours on a Saturday morning.

In today’s competitive applicant pool, especially at the most selective colleges, you can’t afford not to put together the strongest application possible. SAT Subject Tests can and will play a role in that so review the requirements for your schools and take a couple tests in your strongest subjects. Do well enough and they may just help your chances.

If you want some help and guidance on your college search and application process, contact me today to set up an appointment for a free consultation. If you’re in the local area, check out my FREE college planning workshops coming up this spring in Cheshire and Southbury. 

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College List Tip: What Are Your Chances?

Note: I will be conducting a college admissions workshop titled, “Navigating The College Admissions Journey” in several towns this fall. Please scroll to the bottom of this post to learn more.

When you are looking at colleges and trying to decide where you will apply, how you will apply and whether or not you will even get in, one of the first things you will want to do is to try to get a handle on your chances of getting in.

To figure this out, head over to the College Board website and pull up schools you are looking at. Go to the Applying tab and then look at the SAT & ACT score averages. These are good numbers to understand because they represent the score ranges for the most recently admitted and enrolled class. When you are on this page, enter your own scores and you will see whether you fall in the top 25% (very strong candidate), the middle 50% (a likely candidate) or the lowest 25% (chances aren’t so hot). For example, let’s look at Trinity College. Trinity is a great liberal arts college here in Hartford which admits about 30% of applicants. You will see that applicants really need to score 700 or better on all three sections of the SAT in order to be considered a top candidate while scores in the 600’s would place an applicant in the middle of the pack. Now, Trinity is also a test-optional school which does not require SAT or ACT scores if you submit two SAT Subject Tests.

However, on their website Trinity says very clearly that submitting one of the SAT, ACT or two SAT Subject Tests satisfies the minimum requirement. If you want to be a top candidate, don’t hem and haw over it. Go beyond the minimum requirements. In this case, SAT scores and two SAT Subject Tests may enhance your chances.

This is just one way (out of so many) to research schools on your college list so that you can make an informed decision about your applications. Take the time to understand the information that is out there so that you feel good about where you are applying and increase your odds of receiving an acceptance.

If you have any questions about college lists and how to gauge your chances of admission, please use the comment box below. You can also email me directly at – I would love to hear from you!

Learn More at Dobler College Consulting’s College Admissions Workshops

For parents who can make it, I will be holding a workshop titled, “Navigating The College Admissions Journey” on the following dates through each towns’ Adult & Continuing Education Program:

Sept 27: Newtown 6:30-8:30PM 
Oct 1: Wolcott 7-9PM
Oct 10: Cheshire 7-9PM
Oct 16: Meriden 6-8PM
Oct 23: Wallingford 6-8PM
Nov 5: North Haven 6-8PM

The workshop shares strategies to help your son or daughter navigate the college admissions process while eliminating mistakes that tend to reduce their chances of admission. Topics include college lists, online resources, essays, interviews, campus visits and what you need to know about making college more affordable.

All workshop participants will receive information handouts and will be eligible for discounts off of any of my college counseling services.

To register for a class, contact the Adult Education Office for the town you reside in.

Don’t live in one of these towns? You can easily get in touch with me to set up a free 60-minute consultation to help address your pressing college admissions-related questions and issues.


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SAT and ACT Prep

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this by now, but your SAT or ACT scores will play an important role in your college applications. They are just one piece of the admissions puzzle, but they can very often be an important one.If you haven’t registered for your SAT or ACT yet, you will want to do so shortly. Registering for the test is the easy part. Being prepared for it so that you do well is the hard part. So, just how do you go about preparing for the test that everyone dreads? I’m glad you asked.

For the SAT, buy yourself a copy of The Official SAT Study Guide. You can buy it for about $12 and it’s money well spent. The guide contains 10 practice tests and while you may not have the time or intestinal fortitude to complete all 10, the more you do complete, the better off you will be. The key here is to go through and answer all the questions and then go back and figure out the answers to the ones you got wrong. Actually invest the time in figuring out where you went wrong and then work at it until you understand it completely and could arrive at the correct answer the next time.

For the ACT, you can purchase The Real ACT Prep Guide. For about $15 you get 5 practice tests and your goal here is the same with the SAT guide. Use the practice tests to practice your abilities. What do you know and what do you struggle with? If you can identify some weaknesses and then work on them, you will find greater success when you take the real test.

There are also some great online resources. In this case, great also means free! Check out PWN The SAT, Craig Gonzalez Tutoring, the Perfect Score Project, and Each one is chock full of tips, drills, resources and strategies you can put to use right away. You just have to be willing to spend the time.

Of course, if you’re like me and standardized testing just isn’t your thing, you should also know that nearly 800 colleges are test-optional. Some don’t use standardized tests at all while others may waive them due to your awesome grades. Either way, be aware of all your options, the resources available to you and use them to your advantage!

If you have any questions about standardized test prep, the SAT or the ACT, please use the comment box below.

You can also email me directly at – I would love to hear from you!

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